Massachusetts and Worcester County bar foundations create Worcester County Justice Fund

Issue February 2003

Attorneys Paul G. Farrell, president of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, and Blaise P. Berthiaume, president of the Worcester County Bar Foundation, have announced that their organaizations will participate in a new project to benefit justice programs within Worcester County.

County Funds for Justice, an MBF statewide initiative, is intended to generate a funding base for law-related projects within participating counties in the state. Proceeds from the fund will be targeted to local non-profit organizations that facilitate the administration of justice, provide civil legal services to the indigent or educate the public about their rights and the American system of justice.

"The level of concern and cooperation exhibited by the trustees of the WCBF for the increased well-being of local residents is most impressive," Farrell said.

Berthiaume added, "We recognized, immediately, the opportunities this proposal presented. Our members are eager to help in the growth of funds responding to the law-related needs of Worcester County residents."

While Worcester County is the first active partner in the program, other county bar associations are considering participation. The Worcester venture combines MBF development resources with the WCBF's familiarity with local interests and needs for service. Accordingly, the MBF will administer fund-raising activities, manage investments and provide expertise in grant making and oversight, while local attorneys will volunteer their efforts as planners, solicitors and grant advisors in the overall effort.

Attorney Kenneth J. Vacovec, former MBF president and County Funds for Justice task-force director said, "State budget cuts and perennial threats to traditional grant sources for these essential yet chronically under-funded services make this a particularly opportune time for the alliance."